Enlightened Conflict

How do you solve a problem when one half absolutely hates the other half?

February 10th, 2017

Polar Opposites conflict

 

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I want people to think about our politics here in America, because I’m telling you guys that I don’t know of a single nation in this history of the world that’s been able to solve its problems when half the people in the country absolutely hate the other half of the people in that country.

This is the most important country in the world, and people in this body cannot function if people are offending one another.

Marco Rubio

 

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Well.

 

Polarization can create some pretty foul conduct.

 

Polarization can bring out the worst in people.

 

Polarization can create stillness within turmoil when movement within teamwork is needed <and desired>.

And.

 

Polarization within leadership is a virus that infects everyone in the organization … not just in leadership.

marco rubio speech on respectful conflict

I was reminded of this as I watched a completely underreported and under the radar speech Marco Rubio gave on the senate floor after <I believe> Elizabeth Warren had been asked to stop speaking.

Warren gained all the headlines where Rubio actually had the words we should have all been listening to. It is maybe 8 minutes long and worth every second.

 

 

Please note that I believe this message is more important than just one directed toward the Senate … it is a message which all Americans should take note of.

We are fortunate to have the privilege of freedom of speech & thought and we should embrace that freedom as one to permit healthy discussion, debate and disagreements … all of which should enable healthy, positive decisions.

 

Freedom is a tricky thing. In the United States of America we have the unique opportunity to “criticize a president without retribution.” <as past President Obama said to a group of military people at MacDill Air Force base>.

 

But our freedoms are being challenge by Trump and his attitudes & behaviors in ways we haven’t really seen in a very very long time.

 

The Trump Affect ripples way beyond simple executive orders and specific friends unfluencers ripples2actions that will have an impact on the people of the country. The more dangerous ripple effect is one of attitudes & behaviors.

Within this dangerous Trump affect ripple,  the freedom to freely criticize is a little less secure … and the way we criticize, debate & discuss in the Trump era appears to be one of not listening, not respecting and not believing that there could possibly be a way to do something differently than the way “I believe.”

 

Trump and his merry little band of morally corrupt liars suggest that there is no middle ground for “ladies & gentlemen to disagree with ladies & gentlemen” <note: this is a rip off of the Ritz Carlton motto>.

 

The Trump Affect has trickled down into his direct organization … the congress.

 

And within that ripple Republicans either embrace the bully opportunity or simply privately watch in horror as leadership decorum and leadership example <which, by the way, IS important as impressionable children and adult seeking cues on how to be leaders watch closely>.

And within that ripple Democrats screech & gnash their teeth in impotent frustration over not only having no power to shift the tides of change but also because, in their heart of hearts, they know this is not the way business should be conducted.

 

Balance has disappeared.

compromise balancing actWhile people can bitch & moan that decorum, in the past, has only encouraged stagnancy & lack of action they should not confuse with what business is conducted and how business is conducted.

Just as I am more accepting of my high school football coach if we have a losing season but the players play with respect & dignity and go to class and show signs of growing up with a healthy personal responsibility … I am less accepting of the coach who permits poor behavior & lack of respectful competition even if they win more.

You can have all the good in this case. But balance has been lost.

 

In fact.

 

We should face the fact that balance deserted us the day Trump stepped onto his golden Trump Tower escalator last year to announce his candidacy.

 

And that is why Rubio’s speech is so important. Without actually saying it he suggests that we shouldn’t let Trump drag us down into some dysfunctional squabbling amorphous blob of indignant jerks.

 

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“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do.

Both are nonsense.

You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

 

———-

Rick Warren

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I like conflict and I think conflict is healthy.

creative spark light bulb

It is a basic Life truth that conflict is the positive friction that often creates innovations and new thinking and new ideas.

But, as with most things in life, there are degrees of conflict.

 

The kind of conflict we need now, more than ever, is the productive type.

 

We need to better embrace the valuable contradictions in life.

Things like:

 

Smart and funny.

Silent but says a lot.

Liberal conservative.

Cynical optimist.

 

Oh.

 

And enlightened and conflict of course.

 

We need to better embrace the fact that contradictions are powerful.

They create a chemistry ending in positive friction <when done right> and the fire for innovative thinking and thoughts.

 

In general I believe contradiction not only make life & people interesting but they also forge the kind of decisions that become the iron construct for a solid culture, civilization and country.

 

We need to embrace that conflict is part of life and not treat it as only a negative thing.

 

void embrace the unknownHumans are neither passive nor stagnant. We move. We do. We think.

 

Combine that fact with individuals are unique <although they may group together> and inevitably there is some conflict. It can simply be healthy competition or it can be staggeringly evil intended activity <i.e. there will be conflict because your point of view and thoughts shouldn’t exist and I am going to extinguish them>.

 

We need to embrace the fact that conflict can be “managed”.

Maybe call it competitive camaraderie. I call it enlightened conflict. I believe if people know more about stuff <I don’t really believe it needs a technical term> then conflict will be conducted with knowledge.

 

I would suggest that ignorance, and being close minded, guides conflict toward evil interactions … while knowledge guides conflict to responsible interactions.

 

Lastly.

 

We need to embrace that enlightened conflict is really some version of pluralism.

A pluralism in that it encourages, and embraces, freedom to learn and freedom to think different thoughts.

 

In the end I imagine what I really care about are people’s actions. They can remain mute as far as I am concerned as long as their actions respect others opinions and others lives and meets global responsibilities.

 

Look.

 

enlightened conflict ideasIt is silly to think that conflict doesn’t exist as part of our natural behavior <I apologize to all the “why can’t we all get along” groups>.

 

It is silly to think that friction between beliefs and causes is not the spark for something better.

 

It is silly to think conflict and friction is not good.

Good conflict leads to positive friction and ideation and evolution of ideas.

 

But it needs to be conducted with respect. Respectful disagreements & debate lead to two things:

 

  • Positive friction.

 

  • Enlightened conflict.

 

 

The first is based on curiosity plus friction equals better ideas and thinking.

The second is lack of ignorance plus conflict equals respectful competition.

 

We here in the United States have an incredible privilege … a freedom to say what we want and disagree and criticize whomever we want. We shouldn’t abuse that privilege by not understanding that it creates good conflict which enlightened conflict thinkenables ‘gooder’ ideas.

 

Marco Rubio did something in his speech which I endorse wholeheartedly … he tried to make an impact on his own little corner of the world … encouraging positive friction for enlightened conflict.

 

 

Marco Rubio had a stellar enlightened conflict moment … and more people should see it and listen.

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“Enlighten the people, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.”

Thomas Jefferson

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wearable technology and everyday schmucks

October 28th, 2016

A19D55 COMPUTER CIRCUIT BOARD WITH BINARY CODE

 

 

“… technology companies want us to think that by engaging in self-monitoring and self-care practices using wearable wireless technologies we will be empowered to “take control” of our health.

“These apps and devices also sometimes ‘push’ or coerce us into using such technologies in the interests of other actors and agencies”, raising questions about their potential for “economic and social discrimination”.

 

—-

Deborah Lupton, a sociologist who has made a critical study of the digihealth market.

 

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Well.

 

strategy think anger angry business ideas filterI am not a sociologist and I am not a wearable technology expert.

 

And, yet, for some reason I find myself in another discussion where I have been asked about some futuristic type stuff including:

 

What do I think will be the future of healthcare?

 

What do I think about artificial intelligence and the workplace?

 

What do I think about tomorrow’s business organizational model?

 

What do I think about 3D printing and its effect on manufacturing?

 

What do I think about Wall Street and the overall financial industry

 

What do I think about globalization and its effect on individual country’s business ,and jobs>

 

What do I think about the young <in business, in education, in critical thinking>?

 

And.

 

Now … what do I think about wearable technology.

 

Let me be clear.

 

At best … I am 50% right on thinking thru innovations success <maybe the last I got right was the double edged razor>.

At best … I am 50% right on thinking thru the future of entire industries.

 

But … that doesn’t mean I do not have an opinion … and I do know some things about people’s behavior and what they like and dislike <from a usage standpoint> … so here goes on wearable technology.

 

I read somewhere that 2014 was greeted as ‘the Year of the Wearable.’

 

Well.

 

That’s a little over-the-top nuts to me.

 

As most over-the-top futuristic type things are … someone has decided to make some over-the-top claim about an innovation and the future of “the next hot thing” <which is most likely tepid at best>.

 

I think wearable technology is going to have some major complications as it tries to become integral into people’s lives.

 

Why?

 

Well.

 

As people try to cram more and more stuff into whatever they are already doing and what they want to do there will be two main decision criteria for anything trying to work its way in to someone’s routine:change-people-technology

 

  • Lubrication:

 

We all have gobs of things to do and a to-do list longer than time available. In most cases we are not seeking to add things but are more than happy to utilize techniques & tools which make what we have to do get done more efficiently.

That’s Life lubrication.

 

If someone or something can convince me that buying it & using it will lubricate everything I already have on my plate … well … they can have my money.

 

And if it actually DOES lubricate? Well. They will continue to not only get my money but I will use the product/service on an ongoing basis because it … well … has shown value.

 

Everyone should note that the link between purchase & proof of value is tenuous between innovations and people/users which is why many them look good in trial but die overtime.

 

I will admit … for the life of me I cannot figure out why futurists or the blowhards who espouse ‘year of anything’ with regard to an innovation ignore this.

 

<on a separate note: that’s why I believe smartphone telehealth is the next generation of general practitioner medicine … it lubricates Life on a valuable consumer need>

 

 

  • Enhancement:

 

Sticking with my to-do list or stuff I do daily <regularly> … if something can

improve, maybe make more effective, something I am already doing … it is an ‘enhancer.’ In most cases we are always looking to subtract something if we can add something better. Or even better … enhance something we are already doing that we like <better because that incorporates less change in our Life and it suggests what we are already doing was smart>.

That’s Life enhancement.

 

If someone or something can convince me that buying or using it will enhance my life, make it better or more enjoyable or ‘fuller’ on an ongoing basis … well … they can have my money.

 

And if it actually DOES enhance? Well. They will continue to not only get my money but I will use the product/service on an ongoing basis because it … well … has shown value.

 

All that is kind of basic but for some reason gets overlooked.

 

That said.

 

Wearables, for the most part, neither lubricates our life nor enhances it … they simply educate us on how effective, or ineffective, or how efficient, or inefficient, we are already managing our Life.

 

It simply adds shit to what we are already doing and … well … adds work.

 

It simply provides information.

 

Good information? Sure.

 

But all it will either do is piss me off or show me what else I need to be doing.

 

Look.

 

I have more than enough things, and access to a zillion things, which will tell me what I am doing wrong or what I could be doing better … and all for less than $300.

 

If wearable technology would actually change shit without me having to do shit <kind of like a morphine drip without the morphine> then maybe it would meet lubricate/enhance criteria.

 

At the moment all wearable technology does is highlight the eliteness of the super fit and the rest of us every day non super fit schmucks.

 

They are certainly cool … but in today’s world ‘cool’ doesn’t get you too far in the marketplace. It can gain you a business niche but if the cool doesn’t Life lubricate or Life enhance … it will gain nothing more than a niche.

 

By the way.

In the business world a niche model can be quite lucrative.

 

Anyway.

 

I hesitate to jump on board the ‘digital wearable technology revolution.”

At least from a mainstream consumer choice perspective.

 

Now.

 

Let’s take a minute on corporate wellness or health or maybe … the “digitally health and fitness continuumengaged patient.”

 

Let’s say wearers can earn discounts of as much as 15% on their health insurance premiums. Well. That sounds appealing … and not just to me … 70% of consumers surveyed by PwC said they would wear a device to reduce payments.

 

Let’s say that wearable applications become more practical as both hardware and software develop where the devices can measure temperature and blood chemistry which would permit doctors to monitor patients from afar. Well. That sounds appealing … and not just for me … doctors love the idea and for people with chronic illness it could be life-saving or at least life-changing.

 

Let’s say wearable devices, which could include a smartphone that can measure blood-oxygen and blood-glucose levels <key if you’re diabetic>. Well. That sounds appealing.

 

Let’s say that a wearable device can monitor your ECG linked to an app that can tell when you’re running low on heart medication and need to order up a repeat prescription. Well. That sounds appealing.

 

Some of these devices are already on the market or coming soon via private health providers. And some people envision a time not in the not-so-distant future when physical activity and vital sign data will be collected seamlessly from devices planted on or in our bodies without our having to do anything mobile-technology-phones-antennamuch at all. Well. That sounds REALLY appealing from a lubrication and enhancement viewpoint.

 

Fitbit, and other wearables, don’t really seem that viable to me, however, they do appear to be on the leading edge of what will be valuable to us.

 

 

 

I imagine that if you have some extra money to waste or you are one of the superfit obsessed with maximizing every little edge out of your body then a wearable is well worth pursuing.

 

But for us every day schmucks who are comfortable getting what little we can out of our bodies when we do choose to do some exercise or like to take it easy on Sundays in front of a TV watching other people exercise … well … my wearable is much more likely to be a ‘cold one’ in my hand then some $300 wearable on my wrist.

 

first impressions, first words and character assessment

July 31st, 2016

pooh paws truth seek

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“Pooh looked at his two paws.

He knew that one of them was right, and he knew that when you had decided which one of them was right, then the other one was the left, but he never could remember how to begin.”

 

House at Pooh Corner

 

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So.

 

I opened with this Pooh quote to talk about first words.

first impression trust last

Not first impressions but first words.

 

Sure.

They can be directly related but I firmly believe first impressions are significantly less important than last impressions. What I mean is that 99% of the time I can redirect a first impression more toward the desired last impression.

 

First words are trickier.

 

And, as with most things in Life, not all first words are created equal.

 

There are first words which are just not articulated well. These you can recover from. These are the ones that we all think about afterwards and say “shit, I wish I had said ‘this’ rather than what I said.”

 

And you know what? you can.

 

Ah.

 

But then there are the first words which everyone knows are your true feelings. The ones which put an indelible stamp upon your character. These are … well … almost impossible to recover from.

And, truthfully, you cannot recover from something which is a true reflection of who and what you are. You can stumble, mumble or offer a variety of jumbled words but you is what you is and your first words reflect who you is.

 

And that is why I thought of Pooh on this topic.

 

You receive a question.

You think.

 

And the other person, or people, can actually see you think.

 

 You know that there is a right answer and a … well … left answer. You look at both paws and just aren’t sure which is which.

 

Therefore, you answer from your truest self.

 

It is a character answer.  fixing america define yourself how

 

Simplistically , when I view another person’s first words when trapped in a ‘which paw is which” situation I attempt to bucket it into one of two buckets. Are the words a reflection from an “I” perspective <which tend to defend the “I”> or are the words a reflection from a more global view <which tend to defend what other’s may think>.

 

Why?

 

Because, to me, great character is most often driven by an ability, or desire, to view the world in someone else’s shoes. This doesn’t mean character shouldn’t be a reflection of self and what is important from your own ethical & moral compass but rather it means you are always challenging your sense of self against what matters to other people.

 

I will admit.

 

I am sure a part of me wrote about this today because of another Trump ‘first words’ response which made me not only think he was hollow empathetically but also incredibly incapable of viewing the world through anyone’s eyes, and Life criteria filter, other than his own.

 

His response to Mr. Khan’s emotional but articulate stance on the patriotism of Muslim Americans was so unenlightened, portrayed an absurd lack of empathy let alone showing a depth of obliviousness to the real issue at hand and so defensive … well … suffice it to say that first words matter.

 

I imagine he will send out a variety of tweets trying to explain how his first words were misconstrued.

and, to be clear, lest we get confused here on the issues for Trump’s comments about the Khan’s:

 

  • he assumed a Muslim American <American> woman couldn’t speak because of Islam faith. This is either blatant racism or idiotic ignorance. Pick your poison.

 

  • he made “thousands of jobs” equivalent to “losing a child” <let alone an American soldier in combat child>. In his mind somehow this sacrifice is equivalent. Drink that poison.

 

 

Yeah. First words are first words. And first words matter.

 

First words are a true reflection of character maybe 99% of the time.

 

Look.

 

We have all been asked a question and sat there looking at each paw wondering where to begin.

 

99% of the time … even if we do not get the words exactly right … the words will be in some form or fashion a reflection of how we truly feel.

 

99% of the time … even if we do not get the words exactly right … the words will be in some form or fashion a reflection of our character.

 

paw pooh truth selfI do not sit here today writing to suggest anyone should be more careful with regard to what they say first. I do not because I believe most of us are pretty careful with our first words.

 

I will, however, suggest that everyone should pay attention and think about the first words that they hear. Not to say that someone cannot revise something said at first but rather because … well … not all first words are created equal.

 

And the first words said by someone who cannot remember which paw is right and which is left and isn’t sure where to begin?

Well. Most likely those first words will be a reflection of who and what they truly are.

 

 

unpleasant way of saying the truth

July 30th, 2016

 cynicism unpleasant way of speaking truth

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“Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth.”

 

—–

 

Lillian Hellman

 

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    “Truth itself is an emergent distinction.

It’s not a noun; it’s more of a verb.”

 

————

Peter Joseph

 

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“… tell them there’s a cost … every decision we make in life, there’s always a cost.”

 

Brad Meltzer

 

 

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truth nobody is right wrong life societyNobody’s right.

 

Nobody’s wrong.

 

Conversely … I imagine that means someone is always right … or is always wrong.

 

What a fucked up world that would be.

 

Uhm.

 

It sometimes seems like we are close to that world today. And if we are … well … there is always a cost.

 

The cost?

 

Right or wrong … any statement made … even when sensible and accurate from both a moral and leadership perspective … pays a price in the current societal climate. Statements get parsed word by word scrutinized & tortured to a point where someone will say anything to stop the pain.

 

I have stated before that it is a tough time for truth tellers.

 

The climate, to me, is becoming one of steadfast unequivocal semi-truths where someone refuses to admit truth is rarely simple and complexity is rarely viewed as something to be embraced … not to be discarded as ‘silly political correctness.’ The current information climate sometimes embraces a contrary opinion as a viable reason to not accept a majority expert analysis as an accepted truth.

 

I imagine what I am suggesting is that even truth is being challenged by a divisive society.

 

“Nobody is right and nobody is wrong. Only one thing is right, and that is the Truth, but nobody knows what it is. It is a thing that changes all the time, and then comes back to the same thing.”

Lin Yutang

 

Divisiveness not only makes truth an unpleasant discussion but makes communicating truth excruciatingly unpleasant.

 

Now.

 

This divisiveness can very easily, and actually DOES, lead to true ‘truth abuse.’gg cyber house divided

 

And just as with anything that gets abused or when someone decided to play by different rules … it can become quite tempting to start adopting others habits, attitudes & behaviors under the guise of ‘leveling the playing field.’

 

 

Some people’s abuse of truth is no excuse for all people to abandon the use of truth – overall or for one truth.

 

Here is a Life truth.

 

Truth does not reside on an uneven playing field. It resides on one field which is level and lined with uneraseable boundaries.

Sure.

There may be exceptions in which truth may reside close to the margins … exceptions where being righteous toward some meaningful ends permits truth to be placed right on the out of bounds line itself. But you will find the ‘truth abusers’ almost always argues that their particular truth fits within the margins.

 

Let’s be clear.

 

Everyone who disagrees with something you say or believe … is not stupid.

 

In fact … suggesting so, or even suggesting that agreement of opposing views <with a bigger vision in mind> is wrong shows lack of intellectual depth.

 

 

James A. Garfield:

“The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.”

 

 

But maybe the issue isn’t truth but the inability to be able to tell the difference between truth and fiction.

 

I can honestly say I am not sure if I am a cynic, a realist or simply a cynical optimist <hope undergirds just about anything I believe and do>.

divide offen right opinion speech

Now.

 

I clearly understand that there is often a fine line between that realism and cynicism just as I understand there is sometimes a fine line between contrarianism and … well … crackpotism.

 

But here is the deal <the truth as it were>.

 

I read somewhere ‘going thru life avoiding the truth is no way to live.’

Maybe no truer words said.

But what may be even worse? “going thru Life with no truth is no way to live.”

 

I struggle to think of a more unpleasant world than one in which we have no accepted truths.

 

Or a world in which we have no accepted truth tellers.

And by that last thought I mean the real truth tellers … the ones who do not appeal to one group or another … but rather the truth teller who can speak, speak even the unpleasant truths, and all audiences accept it.

 

All of that said leads me back to the opening quote in which cynicism and truth are inextricably linked.

 

Personally I believe a thread of cynicism is healthy. It grounds you enough to insure you don’t become infatuated by the lure of some fantastical untruth which may seem appealing … as well as it insure you put real truths to the grindstone of rigorous logic.

 

But if you accept this thought. This thought that we should all carry around a little cynicism. Well. that creates some challenges to a truth teller. It suggests that telling the truth will almost always have some aspect of unpleasantness.

 

I could argue that the unpleasantness is grounded in the necessary work it should take to rationalize & energize real truth … but … to someone telling the truth <a real truth> in their heart of hearts it kind of feels like it shouldn’t take that much work.

 

Look.

 

truth victim of tolerance unpleasant

 

We should not tell the truth only when truth is needed. We should tell the truths all the time. That is how truth wins over semi truths and made up truths and actual no truths.

 

And while truth tellers must try to get the truth across in a respectful way … they must also accept that truth, in general, almost always has a slightly unpleasant taste when fed to someone.

 

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“The choice to give up bitterness is not easy, but it is simple: peace or poison.

And don’t wait until you feel like making it. You never will.”

 

Brent Weeks

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Truth has never been an easy concept.

 

Some could even argue that people, in general, are quite happy with a robust portion of Truth being fairly malleable.

 

Regardless.

 

Despite the fact we often bemoan the fact that people are too accepting of what they hear and don’t utilize the internet to research their own beliefs … we can’t expect every individual to always fact-check, question and investigate every single statement or bit of information ever encountered.

 

People will always take some shortcuts and it is silly to think people will not.

 

In the good ole days the shortcuts were leaders, the authority and a range of experts. Nowadays that shortcut is … well … the wisdom of the crowd.’ If a sufficient number of information outlets, or people, confirm something … well … then many of us began to believe it was acceptable to believe it.

 

The downside of ‘wisdom of the crowd’ is that it comes at the expense of ‘the wisdom of the leader/expert.’

 

The ‘crowd wisdom’ seems to suggest that a sufficiently large crowd <of non-experts> can be at least as accurate as a small number of expert authorities. This all gets exacerbated by the fact social media has a natural ability to aggregate a subjectively “sufficient large crowd” to solidify a belief.

 

Obviously this faulty logic <crowds do not invariably gain wisdom but rather simply coalesce around a belief – whether that belief is truth or not>.

 

But crowds of likeminded people are like gravity. It feels like a natural law even if it is difficult to prove. And the outcome of this ‘natural law feeling’ is that it contributes to an unjustified, exaggerated distrust in experts who reside somewhere outside this particular crowd.

 

But here is where truth tellers really end up in a really unpleasant space.

 

In the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ no one contradicts me in good faith … any opponent to what I believe must be lying … anyone must have been corrupted by someone or something <therefore are corrupt in some way>… and they must be ‘a lesser version of me & my crowd’ <if not actually some version of a degenerate>.

 

Rereading all of that … well … truth is an unpleasant business.

 

And that is where cynicism comes back into the conversation. While a truth teller sees truth as good and positive they need to recognize that truth is more often going to be viewed as … well … bad news.

 

I say that because bad news is always unpleasant … and therefore a bearer of bad news always has to think about the unpleasant way of saying the truth.

 

Good truth tellers, the ones with a strong moral compass, recognize the presence of the inner cynic in everyone and the fact it is difficult to keep its influence from … well … influencing how one thinks & acts.

 

Good truth tellers, the ones with unequivocal integrity, recognize the crowd’s more hardened inner cynicism and the fact that whatever good news they bear will be bad news to the cynical.

truth people hate

Good truth tellers recognize it is not easy to tell the truth, in fact, it may even be unpleasant … and they take the extraordinary efforts necessary to address the inner cynicism from day one.

 

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“People are stupid.

They think the truth is so easy to know or tell.

All you can do is your best in the circumstances. “

—–

Comment in The Guardian

————

 

People are not stupid. I am fairly positive that all people really desire is truth.

And that is a fair desire.

 

But because truth is rarely simple … in addition … the world offers only fairly complex circumstances in which to tell the truth.

 

All this means is that for the foreseeable future … truth telling is going to be unpleasant.

 

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“Don’t trust the beginnings, truth is told in the last moments.”

 

===

Ahlam Mosteghanemi

 

—————

 

gullible and the death of subtlety

July 27th, 2016

 subtle obvious

 

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“Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.”

 

Malcolm X

 

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“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.”

 

 

Terry Pratchett

 

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Your mind is programmable – if you’re not programming your mind, someone else will program it for you.”

 

Jeremy Hammond

 

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“Some conversations are not about what they’re about.”

Anne Carson

 

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gullible charlotte's webWell.

 

I admit.

 

I get a little grumpy when people start bitching about how … well … people <but never them of course> are more gullible today than ever in the past.

 

Let me be absolutely clear on this.

 

I don’t think we are any more gullible than we were yesterday or the day<s> before.

 

Nor do I believe we are any stupider or more ignorant. In fact … I tend to believe most of us are owners of more information and knowledge than ever before <albeit it may be parts & pieces of information>.

 

Now.

 

I do believe we face a couple of things which maybe make people think we are more gullible.

 

  • A desire for more black and white

 

  • The loss of subtlety or nuance as a basic communication tool

 

First.

people black white color

The black and white thing.

 

People, in general, love the concept of things being black & white.

We want it, try and believe the important things are and tend to distrust things that cannot easily fall into a black or white box.

 

Well.

 

While we may want black & white truth and things to be black and white in Life … most things are best captured in subtlety and nuance.

 

Metaphorically … black & white are easily missed but colors capture the eye.

 

 

Second.

 

Subtlety and nuance.

 

Well.

 

Seeing that I just used a metaphor to end point one … well … the engine that drives effective subtlety and nuance is the ability to use metaphors effectively.

 

As a corollary … the ability to understand an effectively communicated metaphor … well … this ‘listener access point’ is a necessary ability to insure subtlety and nuance can thrive.

 

In other words.

 

Subtlety and nuance needs both an effective deliverer and an effective receiver.

Someone needs to be able to paint in colors and someone needs to not be color blind.

 

Along those lines … literalness is black & white.

 

grays black and whiteAnd it seems like nuance and creativity in communicating is being destroyed by literalness <note: not political correctness>.

We just seem to bludgeon each other with sentences stripped of adjectives and any glimmer of color.

 

And in that literalness we end up being a warped version of gullible.

 

I say all that because far too often ‘gullible’ is associated with ‘not intelligent.’

 

That is not so. In today’s world gullible is being driven by the death of subtlety, nuance and metaphorical speak.

 

And the savvy communicators in the world recognize this and therefore revert to simple bludgeoning words & thoughts.

 

Worse?

 

They simply bludgeon us with simplicity. Or, well, at least what they construe as simplicity but as it comes to life in its hideously insipid quasi-truthful simplistic form it does more damage in its effect than if you had said nothing at all.

 

This all suggests that it may appear like being gullible is running rampant amongst us all … and, yet, we may simply being managed by those who know how to effectively articulate what they want to say <which may not be truth>?

 

The most effective tactic a literal communicator uses is by discussing ‘knowledge’ by fitting an explanation after an event … uhm … which is actually kind of easy.

In addition it makes it easy to literally bludgeon others to such a point it appears … well … simple.

 

All the while is the ignored nuance of knowledge … is the past really a predictor of the future?

 <answer: no>

 

In addition the simplicity can often be doubled down on with impassioned rhetoric. And that impassioned rhetoric doesn’t cut through truth like a sharp knife … it smothers it.

 

I do worry about the simplicity rhetoric out there.

 

And I worry because I know nothing about … well … a lot of shit <to put it bluntly> and I suspect most things are quite complicated … not simple.

 

I worry that literalness ignores the nuances which dictate the truth.

 

I worry because literalness is certainly easier to grasp by people. And I worry if they grasp a literal untruth and believe it … well … it becomes a perverted moral drift society truthtruth.

 

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“The truth isn’t the truth until people believe you, and they can’t believe you if they don’t know what you’re saying, and they can’t know what you’re saying if they don’t listen to you, and they won’t listen to you if you’re not interesting, and you won’t be interesting unless you say things imaginatively, originally, freshly.”

 

——

 

Bill Bernbach

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Look.

 

Savvy communicators have always been … well … savvy … savvy at manipulating not only our thoughts but also how we feel. They tap into our pea like brains like surgeons. And they do so using tools of both literalness and nuance/subtlety. In fact .. the best wield one in each hand.

 

Now.

 

There are a certainly a variety of tried & true ways we get manipulated/managed by speakers <this list represents a Great Courses course on persuasive speaking>:

 

Show the obstacle and overcome it

 

Empathetic authenticity <I see myself in them>

 

Create and tell a Story

 

the Power of the ‘three‘ <we LOVE lists … and short doable & rememberable lists>

 

the Logical Case

 

Paint a Pictures <with words>

 

Share a vision

 

appeal to the head, heart & wallet

 

Inspire with a Call for positive action

 

 

nuance litte thingsSuffice it to say that managing the narrative matters and how you state the narrative matters. And more often than not how we communicate, when being effective in doing so, sends subtle signals.

 

Yes. Nuances matter.

 

All literalness does is permit we <the listener> to add our nuanced beliefs on top of the starkness and that translates into a stronger self-biased attitude.

 

I am not suggesting literalness be replaced by bullshit buzzwords and cool sounding strategies but rather that facts are supported by subtle and nuanced aspects to reflect the most important truth – facts are complex.

 

I could argue that subtlety and nuance represents the difference between true effective sustainable functioning structures and inefficient unsustainable nonfunctioning structures.

 

But I will not.

 

I will not because the real answer is that … well … we don’t know for sure.

 

But what we do know is that effective communication is the lifeblood of any healthy work & personal environment.

 

We also know that communication takes place on multiple levels in order to be truly effective – literally what we say as well as how we say those things.

 

We also know that emotion is the energy behind any true action. Without emotion action is … well … robotic at its core. In other words … it creates a task doing and checklist completion attitude.

 

Uh oh.

 

Task doing and completion attitude unfortunately feeds into a ‘gullible’ perspective , i.e., just doing what I was told.

Now.

That may not be true … but it certainly creates that perspective.

 

Look.

 

I absolutely do not believe we are anymore gullible today than we were yesterday.

 

I do believe one of the most unfortunate consequences of information accessibility <in its overwhelming way> is that literalness has taken on a significant importance in our heads <and, therefore, it affects our behavior>.

 

I also like to remind people that we suck at knowing what we want.

 

In an information accessible world we say we want black & white … but we really don’t. We crave subtlety & nuance and colors. We just desire it in a way that doesn’t make us work too hard.

 

And, frankly, that is no different today than it was yesterday and nor will it be any different in the future.

 

Give us something we can understand and enjoy … give us the literal truth in a story line in which we can embrace … give the black & white some nuanced rich & royal hues … and well … you have trapped my mind emotionally and logically.worth a try show for it life

 

That, my friends, does not reflect gullible in any way. That reflects a well-informed, engaged semi-enlightened population.

 

Subtlety is surely not dead. And we should be seeking to use it more often … or at least try.

 

Literalness may be currently standing in the spotlight but subtlety & nuance is standing nearby awaiting literalness to wilt under the harsh light of … well … what is truth.

 

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“Once you create a self-justifying storyline, your emotional entrapment within it quadruples.”

 

Pema Chödrön

Enlightened Conflict